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DC firefighters accused of refusing to help man having heart attack

D.C. Firefighters Accused of Refusing to Help Man Having Heart Attack

Two DC firefighters are on leave after reportedly doing nothing while a man had a heart attack and died across the street from the fire station. HLN talked to the daughter of 77-year-old Cecil Mills.

'It's heartless, and that's how I felt because the person stood there and did nothing to help. I even ran to the curb and said 'are you going to help me or are you going to let my dad die?' This goes against what firefighting is all about.'

The response she got: 'That firefighter told them no one could respond until someone called 911 and they were dispatched. That ambulance went in the wrong direction by more than two dozen blocks.'

Now, DC officials are questioning how this could have happened.

At a press conference Wednesday, Mayor Vincent Gray said the incident is 'an outrage,' and the firefighters failed to show 'common decency.' He also said those who failed to respond will be held accountable.

One of those is Lt. Kellene Davis, who was in charge at the time. She's one of the firefighters on leave. WJLA obtained a letter from her to the fire chief.

'She says firefighter G. Murphy told her someone had fallen across the street so she asked him to get an address and said she'd be right there but he never returned with an address.'

But according to the outlet, sources say Davis' story differs considerably from Murphy's.

The two firefighters will remain on leave until officials have completed their investigation.

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crashclint February 03 2014 at 12:40 PM

The union won't let anything happen to them.
(on leave) = paid vacation

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Dan February 01 2014 at 12:56 PM

Stupid , call 911 so one of the firefighters should had called while one of the others followed the lady,
DOES THE DC firefighters union teach firefighters on how to use that head between their shoulders. I hope the DC Firefighters union is embaressed by this action and get rid of the whole watch at that station , replace them with somebody with common sense teach them firefighters how to dial 911... and be sure to tell them eleven is not a number on there cell phone or the station phone tell them push 9 then 1 then 1 not 9 then 11.

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babyloie1 February 01 2014 at 12:16 PM

There are times when GOOD JUDGEMENT should take prescident, otherwise get into another line of work.

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rlpatchkc February 01 2014 at 10:15 AM

Not all firefighters are trained parametics, no training means no coverage. Would you take the chance of being sued? What about if someone you knew had been sued? Just being sued and you winning can still be very costly!

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clrussell135 February 01 2014 at 10:14 AM

While this may be a moral shock to many, don't assume that there are actual legal implications involved. There are no federal Duty to Act Laws, only Good Samaratin Laws, which do NOT require action at all, but rather protect you from frivoulous litigation should you make the personal decision to assist. Laws surrounding EMT response are determined by the state the EMT is working in. There are none that would consider Failure to Act as a felony without additional elements involved. In fact, depending on the laws in DC, it may be hard to even discharge these firefighters if they were in fact acting within city policy. This may be a good opportunity for administrators that do not work in the field to see how their sometimes ridiculous policies actually effect real people. A shame about the man dying...no doubt...but, get the facts and understand the law before jumping to "manslaughter" charges.

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1 reply to clrussell135's comment
babyloie1 February 01 2014 at 12:24 PM

Forget the legal shmegal.................. just hope your loved one who may live next door to a doctor or someone with ANY medical knowledge feels as you do.

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jeffwecker81 February 01 2014 at 9:58 AM

They should be fired, and the victim's family heavily compensated for their loss

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jankantius February 01 2014 at 9:56 AM

I can understand it. If they helped without an official dispach and something went wrong they could be sued. This is America.

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Bill February 01 2014 at 9:53 AM

Another cover up story in the making.

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sachfoxo February 01 2014 at 9:53 AM

Very surprising . Fireman were first responders in 911 Many of them died. We have a lot of good firefighters . I have heard 2 stories this week that are Upsetting. the first was when their was a Dog stranded in a frozen lake and the firefighters Refused to get the dog. They said the Ice was too thin.
They were unprepared for a situation where in a town with a big Lake they should have Kayaks as rescue equipment for this reason they did nothing !....2 local men had a Kayak and saved the Dog Period. I thought if it was a Human grown person they would have went out or tried to get the safe equipment from a neighbor and retrieved men's and woman's best friend. Here is a second Blunder they refused to help a Man having a heart attack because they did not call 911. THEIR STATION was right across the block the Paramedics should have tried to save him and called for help. NO they did not help at all. What happened to our system ? My cousin died in 911 . He tried to save lives and I miss him. The system is flawed now and the red tape is killing people .
Please give them with the proper Equipment for rescue's and stop using B. S. excuses to get out of the Job they did not do. Signed Extremely Disappointed. .......Ambulance finally arrived , They went 20 blocks in the wrong direction ! OF course their going to try and cover their Butt's now. TOO LATE !

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Sandi February 01 2014 at 9:43 AM

Are you a union member first, or a human being first? Wow! Sad story, could have been any of us.

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scruffstr February 01 2014 at 10:39 AM

the union does not set the policies. the city sets the policies. that being said, this is a problem with the leadership in that station. i worked in the fire service for 28 years, the last five as chief. that situation would not have happened at our (union) department.

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